Teams set extra-base hit mark, too

Updated: October 8, 2003, 3:12 PM ET

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins set all kinds of home run records in Game 1 of the NL championship series Tuesday night.

They combined for seven home runs, an NLCS record. Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion all homered in the third inning, the first time an NL team has hit three homers in one inning.

The Cubs' nine extra-base hits also was an NLCS record, as was the 17 total extra-base hits.

"I don't know," Marlins starter Josh Beckett said when asked to explain the offensive burst. "It was a bad day for pitchers."

Storm before the calm
Florida Marlins starter Josh Beckett found out very quickly that in a big game like the NL championship series, less is better.

Beckett's adrenaline was racing in the first inning of Game 1, and the Chicago Cubs quickly took advantage. They scored four runs off Beckett, including a two-run homer by Moises Alou.

"I was trying to do too much in the first inning," Beckett said. "Pudge (Rodriguez) cleaned me out a little bit. He helped me focus. After the first inning, in my mind, I was going to do less."

Beckett allowed just one hit over the next four innings. He did run into more trouble in the sixth inning, though, giving up a two-out, two-run homer to Alex Gonzalez that tied the game at 6.

But his teammates eventually bailed him out. Ivan Rodriguez homered and drove in five runs for Florida, and Mike Lowell hit the game-winner, a pinch-hit solo homer in the 11th inning.

The Marlins won 9-8 in 11 innings. Game 2 is Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

"When you get to this stage of the season, winning the game is the most important thing," Beckett said. "It doesn't matter how you do it."

Besides, Beckett has bigger things to worry about now. Like starting Game 5.

If there is a Game 5, that is.

"Oh, that's true," Beckett said when told there won't necessarily be a Game 5. "Guess I did kind of jump the gun on that."

Pitch for next season
Corey Patterson may be hurt, but the Chicago Cubs haven't forgotten what the outfielder did to help them get to the NL Championship Series.

On the disabled list since July 6 with torn ligaments in his left knee, Patterson threw out the first pitch before Game 1 against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night. Fans gave him a loud, warm reception as he trotted out to the mound, and a few of the Marlins even applauded him, too.

"These fans are great fans, they've been great fans for many years," Patterson said before the game. "And my teammates are still behind me. I know they haven't forgotten about me."

Patterson has been in uniform and in the Cubs dugout for every playoff game. He also was included when the team was introduced before Game 1.

While Patterson is grateful to be included in the Cubs' best postseason run since 1908, he admits it's tough being a spectator.

"It's hard to sit here and watch them play, but I wish the team well," he said. "I know I was an addition to why the team has made it so far. Just as the other players put the effort and time into it, I was part of it as well. That's what you have to tell yourself.

"I helped the team get to where they're at," he added. "I was part of that until I got hurt."

Patterson was hitting .298 with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs when he got hurt. He also had five triples and 18 steals.

He was trying to beat out an infield single against the Cardinals when he landed awkwardly on the bag. Though he initially thought he sprained his knee, tests the next day showed he had torn the ACL and cartilage in his left knee.

Patterson hopes to be running again in a month or two, and expects to be ready for spring training.

Speed trap
Marlins manager Jack McKeon is no fan of the radar gun that measures the speed of pitches.

"Some of the young pitchers at times -- you not only see it in the major leagues, you see it in high school and college -- they all have the tendency to look at the gun to see how their doing and if they can top it," McKeon said before Tuesday's opener of the NLCS.

McKeon said he's never asked for the gun to be shut off so his pitchers won't peek at it when they're on the mound. But he does encourage pitchers to be more attentive to the other aspects, like command and location.

"Our guys have not paid as much attention as they used to," he said of the radar gun.

"I think sometimes it is a detriment, really. But what are you going to do? That's how we scout today. We scout by the gun. We don't scout by how they can get a hitter or how they ball moves. It's how hard you throw."

Surly starters
The Cubs pitching staff has had its share of heated moments against opposing teams this season, and Mark Prior makes no apologies for them.

"People have pointed the finger at us as pitchers saying we're instigators. I don't think we have been," Prior said. "There have been a couple of instances and I think they might have been blown out of proportion. But we're an aggressive team."

When the Cubs played in San Francisco in April, Prior hit Barry Bonds in the upper thigh -- two days after Kerry Wood hit him twice. An agitated Bonds walked toward Prior, who motioned him on.

And just before the playoffs, St. Louis reliever Steve Kline said he hoped Prior "takes a line drive to the forehead and we never have to see him again." Several of the Cardinals -- including manager Tony La Russa -- have questioned the Cubs' aggressive pitching style.

Prior said the reputation doesn't bother Cubs pitchers.

"It's not because we're trying to be bad guys or have this bad boy image," he said. "It's what we have to do to be successful."

"We'll throw up and in to get guys off the plate. Whether we want to be considered tough guys or not, that's not for us to decide."

Tasty wager
Judging from a wager between the mayors of Chicago and Miami, both expect to savor a victory in the NLCS. Miami's Manny Diaz is betting a case of stone crabs on the Marlins. Chicago's Richard Daley -- normally a White Sox fan -- is betting such popular Chicago foods as Connie's Pizza, Eli's Cheesecake, Goose Island Root Beer, nuts and other snacks from Nuts on Clark, Robinson's Ribs, Vienna Hot Dogs and 95 packages of Wrigley Gum -- one for every year since the Cubs last won the World Series.